FORT WORTH Young violinist Alexandra Switala joined the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Andres Franco, for Classical Cowtown — a rare, all-classical program in the orchestra’s Concerts in the Garden series — on Sunday night in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.
The Music: Franco and the orchestra opened with Rossini’s rousing overture from Semiramide, before Switala came on to perform German composer Max Bruch’s famous Violin Concerto No. 1. The concert’s second half, which unfortunately began too late to be seen for this review, offered a collection of pulse-raising movements from four Beethoven symphonies.
The Mood: Highly attentive and respectful. While the entertainment in this series can sometimes be treated as a picnic soundtrack to be enjoyed or ignored, the small crowd for this concert (fewer than 600 paying patrons) was there for the music.
Memorable moment: The buckle-your-seat-belts final movement of the Bruch. The 20-year-old Switala displayed great sensitivity and control in the showy and frequently performed concerto’s opening two movements. And then she put the pedal to the metal in the finale. That movement is always an exhilarating dash, but Switala made it a thrill ride that few amusement parks could top. Let us hope this is not the last time we see this native Texan, who currently studies at Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, performing with the symphony.